The Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) plans to consider whether the church should divest from firms doing business in Israel. A committee overseeing the denomination’s “socially responsible” investments is recommending that the church spend 12 months studying what actions might be appropriate to protest Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
The move follows a mid-September visit to the Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem by members of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, an Anglican group with international membership that supports peace and social justice initiatives.
The network issued a statement on Sept. 22 that supported the resumption of peace negotiations and called on Israel to withdraw from occupied areas in Palestine and dismantle the wall between Israel and Palestinian communities. It did not mention divestment, but the network plans to make a report in June 2005 to the Anglican Consultative Council that may include a recommendation about social responsibility in investments.
Israel maintains that its actions against Palestinian individuals and communities are in response to such terrorism as suicide bombings.
Meanwhile, the Anglican Church of Canada’s general secretary Archdeacon Jim Boyles said that “no action in regards to divestment from Israel is planned at this time from the Anglican Church of Canada.” Mr. Boyles was responding to a request of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center to clarify the Canadian church’s position on divestment from Israel.
with files from ENI, ENS, ACNS